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Estimates of vascular plant primary production in a west coast usa salt marsh estuary ecosystem

Estimates of vascular plant primary production in a west coast usa salt marsh estuary ecosystem

Northwest Science 54(1): 68-79

Vascular plant primary production studies were undertaken in 6 Coos Bay, Oregon, salt marshes differing in plant associations, substrate, period of inundation, and degree of human interference. In each marsh, monthly samples were taken along permanent transect lines to determine aerial and root standing crop values. Estimation of death due to shedding and herbivory were included when assessing primary production values. Salt marshes with a predominance of giant bulrush, Scirpus validus, showed the greatest productivity (1200 g/m2 per yr); disturbed marshes showed least productivity (400 g/m2 per yr). Salt marshes with a predominance of Carex lyngbyei and Distichlis spicata showed high intermediate characteristics (1081 g/m2 per yr). Root standing crop values appear quite large (20,000 g/m2). Further study needs to be undertaken to determine the importance of this plant material to estuarine food chains.

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